Florida megadeal aims to restore Everglades
Jim Wark—Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images
Florida has reached a tentative 1.75-billion-dollar deal to buy the largest US sugar producer and turn its vast swaths of farmland into reservoirs to protect the fabled Everglades wetlands, US media reported Wednesday.
“The plan, described as the largest conservation purchase in Florida’s history, envisions restoring some of the natural flow of water to the Everglades from Lake Okeechobee,” The amount of land involved is some 187,000 acres…
Spanning 1.5 million acres, the Everglades is the third-largest national park in the lower 48 US states, after Death Valley and Yellowstone.
For decades water from areas north of the massive wetlands has been diverted to fast-growing cities and for farming. Pollution has taken a growing toll.
The deal with US Sugar would help restore more of the pre-development ecosystem; water could move from Lake Okeechobee into marshes that filter it and then on to the “sea of grass” at the southern end of the Florida peninsula. A direct lake-Everglades connection has been a dream of environmental groups.
And a wonder for future generations if the restoration is thoughtfully carried out.